In a press conference Friday, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson lent credence to speculation Carmelo Anthony's time with the organization could be nearing its conclusion by stating the superstar forward may be "better off chasing a championship elsewhere."
Jackson added, "I think the direction with our team is that he would be better off somewhere else."
Anthony appeared to respond to Jackson's comments on Instagram shortly after:
The 71-year-old NBA lifer, who captured 13 championships between his time as a player and a coach, said bluntly the Knicks "haven't been able to win" with Melo. Al Iannazzone of Newsday noted Jackson said the Knicks have "faced resistance" trying to implement the triangle and implied Anthony was to blame.
Jackson said he told Anthony "you don't want to end up your career not winning" during his exit interview.
Finding a trade partner for Anthony could be a challenge, especially since the team president said he wants a "significant piece" in return as part of any deal.
Anthony is under contract for two more years with cap hits of $26.2 million and $27.9 million, though he could opt out after next season, according to Spotrac. He also possesses a no-trade clause and a 15 percent trade kicker in his current deal.
Jackson said the Knicks were told what teams Anthony would be "open to be traded to" prior to the trade deadline.
The 10-time All-Star selection and 2012-13 NBA scoring champion averaged 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists across 74 appearances for the Knicks this season. However, the team stumbled to a 31-51 record after high-profile additions led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical reported before the deadline the Knicks reached out to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers about a potential blockbuster Anthony trade but couldn't find a buyer.
While it's usually easier to work out those types of agreements during the offseason, it's unclear what kind of interest Anthony will generate given his contract and lack of team success. That said, Jackson's remarks make it obvious the team wants to move in a new direction before next season.
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